by irene bean

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A Solid Foundation



Not Trying to be Corny

This Little Light of Mine

We Were Once Young

Veni, Vedi, Vinca

U Tube Has a New Star

Packing a 3-Iron

Getting Personal

Welcome Again

Well... Come on in

Christmas Shopping

There's no Substitute

Dressed for Success

Cancun Can-Can

Holy Guacamole

Life can be Crazy

The New Dog

Hurricane Reenie

He Delivers

No Spilt Milk

Naked Fingers


Have Ya Heard the One About?

The Great Caper


Barney's P***S

My New Security System

Hurricane Reenie

Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun on October 22, 2005. It hammered the area for 32 hours with winds up to 130 mph.

Hurricane Reenie hit Cancun on January 29, 2006. She got hammered that same night - length of time and velocity are inconsequential. Only sustained damage was to self.

Okay. So I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here.

Cancun greeted us with warm, wet air, lapping itself around us. The moisture hugged me with memories of when I'd visit my grandparents after they retired to Florida. That was many years ago, but one doesn't forget special snippets and sensations.

Last year about this same time (January 2005) Brian and I cruised through the Panama Canal. One of our stops was Grand Cayman, the renowned Caribbean Mecca for the rich and famous. We were totally unprepared for the devastation we saw - the result of Hurricane Ivan, which hit in September 2004. The entire island was a jumbled knot of vegetation. Windowless homes stared bleakly as we toured the island. Bill Gates' fortress was intact, as were the heavily armored banks. The firsthand reality made hurricane devastation more than just a newspaper headline.

Today, Cancun looks the same as Grand Cayman did to us. Hindsight, we probably would not have taken the trip - anymore than we would plan a trip to the French Quarter. The devastation was real and heartbreaking. A selfish part of me resented my husband's very hard-earned money being invested in a substandard vacation in a hotel room still under construction. Another part of me was glad we were there to support their woeful economy.

Despite the rough-around-the-edges of the hotel, Brian and I were completely seduced by the Gulf waters that gently tapped the shore and lulled us to sleep each night. During daylight, the hues of watery blue were too numerous to count, a palette unique to the Mexican Riviera. The trade winds ruffled the waters ever so slightly and pleasantly strummed the air to cool us. The caws and yodels of exotic birds reminded us of the jungle that had once stood there. Magic was still amidst the devastation.

Okay. Enough of the nice-nice. Let's talk about Hurricane Reenie:

After we settled in our room - I can guarantee you the workmen left just before our arrival and would return after we departed to complete the job - we moseyed to the main lobby to meet up with friends. I requested of our server a tropical-like beverage with Vodka. He suggested, "How about Sex on the Beach?"

I said, "Sounds good to me!" We all wink-winked.

The evening segued to a marvelous dinner with ten companions. Most of them were young. The food and service were impeccable - with sleight of hand, our server replaced our drained cocktails, numerous times. Conversation was lively with lots of bawdy laughter.

After dinner, someone suggested we go to the hotel's discotheque. I was game for anything at this point - climb the Mayan tombs of Tulum? You bet! All evening I had felt like the granny of the group, but suddenly I felt a little hip. Heck, I cut my teeth on discotheques!

My recall from this point forward is a tad hazy, but allow me to add the disclaimer that my suspicions should have been aroused when I spotted the fleet of wheelchairs lined up outside the discotheque.

I'm told and can only believe that we all had about 6-8 shots of tequila. I'm told and can only believe that I had to be taken back to our room in a wheelchair. I'm told and can only believe (a first for my beloved Brian) that he had to tip 2 men to carry me up 3 flights of stairs to our room (the elevators were still out of commission because of the hurricane.)

Okay. So I'm not proud of all the above, but I'm not sorry either. No one else can remember a damn thing, anyway. Though the next morning, one of my young companions regaled in repeating to anyone who would listen, my parting wheelchair shot (with a raised clenched fist), "I may be pushing 60, but I still know how to party!"

Yeah, right.

I now believe that tequila is only for the young, but the next morning I awoke early with no hangover. I had a big breakfast and worked up a sweat in the gym with a 2-hour regimen. Everyone was incredulous. One of my companions was so hung-over, I overheard her beseech, "Where's an assassin when you need one?"

Despite my rough entry to Cancun's nightlife, we had a blast, and I do remember the rest of the trip with great clarity - and I'm not telling!

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